UK Cyber Security Challenge confirms finalists

The UK Cyber Security Challenge has revealed its second set of finalists after a contest to manage a secure network was held yesterday.

Four semi-final teams locked horns with QinetiQ's own cyber security professionals and secured their IT networks against a series of 'real life' live challenges posed by the company's team of penetration testers, network and security specialists. Following this, the finalists of teams of sixth-formers and postgraduates were announced.

Team Glitch was a team of upper sixth school pupils that won Saturday's category for small networks, while team PEBKAC, a collection of two under-graduates and one unemployed person, won the medium networks category on Sunday.

Both teams will receive a prize from a pool of career building and education-focused options that include internships with Sophos, experience on the CREST penetration testing rig and free SANS Institute and 7Safe training places.

The teams will also compete in ‘The Masterclass' final to be hosted in Bristol at HP Labs in March, where they will compete as individuals alongside winners from the other two Challenge feeder competitions to be crowned the UK's Cyber Security Champion.

Lucy Robson from Team Glitch said that it was a fantastic experience, immensely rewarding and great fun. “I never expected to get this far, having entered purely to satisfy my curiosity.  I will not hesitate to enter again next year,” she said.

Richard Hodgson from Team PEBKAC, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed being tested in such a high speed, dynamic and intense environment. This was certainly a fantastic opportunity for anybody interested in computer security.  An experience I would never have at university.”

Rt Hon Baroness Neville-Jones DCMG, minister of state for security and counter-terrorism, said: “I am delighted to see that Cyber Security Challenge is flourishing and has now reached the face-to-face phase.

“Protecting our interests in cyber space is vital for the economic well-being of the UK and for our national security. To undertake this important work in the private and public sectors we need an expanded cadre of cyber security professionals. This initiative is a wonderful example of innovative and necessary collaboration between the government and industry to tackle the complex array of threats and risks that we all face daily in cyber space.”

The Cyber Security Challenge UK is a series of online and face-to-face competitions designed by security, education and government organisations as a response to the worrying shortage of skilled professionals in the cyber security sector.

Registrations for the UK category of the DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge set by the US Department for Defense are already open. Anyone interested in testing their mettle should visit www.dc3.mil/challenge/2011.

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